When designer Robert Stilin saw this TriBeCa, New York, loft in an 1887 manufacturing building, he knew he would return it to its roots. A prior renovation had added uninspiring drywall and modern fixtures to a space that was never meant to be slick. Steel-wrapped cabinets, antiqued counters and vintage accessories were paired with professional appliances to give the kitchen "instant age" while also standing up to the 21st-century demands of an urban family.
Solutions for the Busiest Room in the House
1. Don't forget the ceiling.
Transitioning from a 14-foot ceiling in the living space to a nine-foot one in the kitchen was a balancing act. To marry these two spaces — and maintain the intimacy of this kitchen niche — Stilin designed the island as a focal point, adding oversize pieces like the 24-inch Dornbracht Tara faucet and a trio of vintage pendants.
2. Opt for authentic materials.
"We wrapped the cabinetry in steel because it's a material that was used during that period, similar to the cast-iron columns that frame the island," Stilin says. He also added frosted glass with chicken wire to the upper cabinets and distressed-oak fronts to the lower ones for an appealing texture and timeworn charm.
3. Install stylish (and functional) backsplashes.
"Often, we'll carry the countertop stone up onto the wall, but I felt like this hand-glazed terra-cotta tile from Mosaic House added a great organic quality," says the designer. To combat the inevitable "oil-splatter scrub down" behind the range, he chose a stainless steel backsplash from Wolf like those used in restaurant kitchens.
4. Create a drinks station.
A barista in the morning and a sommelier at night would be ideal. Since those weren't in the budget, Stilin created a beverage area, complete with a built-in Miele coffeemaker, a Sub-Zero wine fridge and — to make cleanup a breeze — a double dishwasher from Fisher & Paykel. An adjacent appliance garage keeps clutter out of sight.
This story originally appeared in the June 2016 issue of CQ.